Saturday, 5 November 2016

The Compulsion (+ addendum 28/11/16)

Apologies for another rambling, text-only and only barely toy related posting, but I'm still struggling to focus on the toys while in the midst of some big, important real-life stuff. There's nothing quite like expensive property matters to suck all the enjoyment out of life.

But I digress.

Back in my write-up of TFNation (day 2, specifically) I mentioned the Death's Head remix of Mastermind Creations' Reformatted Jaegertron figure, which they have named Anubis. While I didn't add it to my Want List, it certainly stuck in my mind because I rather liked Death's Head, the 'Freelance Peacekeeping Agent' created by Simon Furman and Geoff Senior back in the late 80s (I actually own most of the short-lived solo comics series from Marvel, though currently know the whereabouts of only one issue) and, while the Death's Head I know was never actually a TransFormer (though he did hunt them a couple of times), the idea of a transforming Death's Head tickled me greatly. That, coupled with the fact that Anubis was another TFCon exclusive, like the Feral Queen and Nero Queen set, meant I became quite keen on tracking one down.

This urge was mitigated by the simple fact that, over the last 12 months, I haven't had a great deal of disposable income due to the aforementioned "big, important real-life stuff" and have had to carefully budget any and all purchases, being especially strict about events like Roll Out Roll Call and TFNation (so it's actually a good thing, in a way, that neither featured much that I actually wanted to buy). Since the latter, I've bought only one small, Third Party figure in an effort to ensure the real-life stuff didn't get scuppered by silly overspending.

It was with this in mind that, just for a change, I actually started looking at reviews of the figure before forking out any money to buy one for myself. Now, I'd been aware of Jaegertron for quite a while and, while I like the look of it, it's another of Mastermind Creations' Reformatted line that I'm not interested in owning. I have next to no investment in Lockdown as a character outside of TransFormers Animated and, even there, he only stood out for two reasons: he was voiced by the awesome Lance Henriksen, and he was a neutral party in the larger conflict. Giving his Reformatted interpretation a movie-style head (that is, one alternate head featuring a flip-down battlemask and another that has a massive gun growing out of it) was an interesting touch, but the bland colourscheme (as far as black coupled with an almost fluorescent green can be considered 'bland') and a nondescript spacecraft/jet alternate mode was a bit of a letdown, while the intended reuse of the mold as Cyclonus was telegraphed loud and clear by the forward-swept wing design and the familiar cockpit.

But reusing the mold as Death's Head was, on the surface, something of a masterstroke. Like Lockdown, Death's Head is a ruthless, non-partisan character whose methods are entirely his own. Both are hired for dirty jobs and, while I'm not aware of any such instances in Lockdown's histories, it's quite likely that both have been double-crossed by their paymasters. While Lockdown is in it for the trophies and stolen tech upgrades, Death's Head is in it purely for the money. They're so similar it's hard not to think of Death's Head when watching Lockdown in action, and I'm sure I read somewhere - perhaps just a rumour - that Lockdown was created because use of Death's Head wasn't permitted (Hasbro and Marvel having parted ways long ago).

What's strange is that, while I'd originally thought the Jaegertron mold was created with Cyclonus in mind, certain aspects of it - particularly the shield that can't even be used except to cover the spare weapon mountings on the robot's back - seem to point to the Death's Head homage quite specifically. Instead, I gather, Jaegertron came first, and the designer asked to make a version based on Death's Head... while the Cyclonus repurposing has yet to be released.

In any event, I watched a couple of video reviews - both of Reformatted Anubis and Jaegertron, and they rather put me off. Not least, actually seeing Anubis in his vehicle mode, because it's actually hideous. The red mechanical 'cape' looks great because that's how the original version of Death's Head looked... but as the red nose and wing sections of a largely green craft, it looks awful... and the incongruous golden disk on the underside as the only thing disguising the robot's head, along with the overall quite simplistic transformation are really not up to Mastermind Creations' usual standards.

So... somewhat surprisingly, I've gone from feeling a very strong urge to buy a cool-looking Third Party figure based on a Marvel character who appeared in the early TransFormers comics, to feeling that I can safely save my £80-odd. It's a decent enough figure - better as Lockdown than as Death's Head thanks to the the more coherent colourscheme, the trailer, trophies and the all-important hook - but, having seen it in action, I know it's not for me, so the compulsion to acquire it and (somehow) find space for it - and its expansive mecha-cape - on my shelves is no longer there.

It's helped, I suppose, that my finances haven't been healthy enough to really consider forking out that sort of money for a single figure, but I'm not sure how long my current austerity will last considering I'm increasingly tempted to pick up Titans Return Wolfwire, perhaps with a view to parting company with FansProjects' Quadruple-U, because of my curious Weirdwolf fixation.

Who knows, maybe I'll get some TransFormers for Christmas..?

Addendum 28/11/16: It's also worth mentioning that my compulsion to acquire the Feral Queen/Nero Queen set has led to a certain amount of buyer's remorse. It's one of those situations where I have been compelled to add every iteration of this femme-bot mold to my collection because (a) they're femme-bots and (b) the original and its variants were excellent (Salva Prominon, too... Eupatorium less so, but I still think I'll end up getting her). Buying every alternately-coloured variant of a mold just because the original was good is, objectively, rather foolish... but it's an obsession that Hasbro have been keen to take advantage of since the Generation 1 Seekers.

So, while I don't own a lacklustre third party transforming figure based on a Marvel Comics character, I do own my sixth and seventh iterations of the third party Arcee, each using the fourth head sculpt for that mold. Beautiful as they are, I can't help but think of them as somewhat surplus to requirement... especially since I have no intention of picking up Feral Rex or Nero Rex, which would at least put the two Queens in some sort of context, even if their transformation is identical to Azalea et al and absolutely at odds with the robo-beastformers that make up the gestalt.